Narrative Thickness

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The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the experience of a literary narrative qua literary narrative is an experience of narrative thickness, i.e. an experience in which narrative form and narrative content are inseparable. I explain my thesis of poetic thickness in §1, showing why it does not admit of extension from poetry to literary narratives. §§2-3 synthesise the work of Derek Attridge and Peter Lamarque, advancing narrative thickness as a necessary condition of literary narratives. I propose a work of didactic literature – J.M. Coetzee’s “The Lives of Animals” – as a paradigmatic counter-example to narrative thickness in §4. I show, in §5, that narrative thickness holds for this work in particular and didactic works which are literary in general, concluding that narrative thickness is indeed a necessary condition of literary narratives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-22
JournalEstetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2015


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